Monday, December 06, 2021

Computer Science Education Week 2021

Well, its CS Ed Week again. Still no cards in the Hallmark store for it. I’ll get back to that in a moment. CS Ed Week has long been a time to introduce more students to computer science. When it started there were only small percentage of schools that offered any computer science education at all. We’ve made a lot of progress. There is still a long way to go though as even though more schools offer CS the number of students taking it are still very low.

There is no shortage of ways to introduce students to computer science during CS Ed Week. Hour of Code is probably the best known and widest platform in use. And it is a great one.Miles Berry has several activates in his blog post Five (out of twenty) things to do with a computer with more information about using Turtles one another blog post - Make a Turtle!

I never made a big deal of CS Ed Week when I was teaching for the very simple reason that the school I was teaching at required a full year (or two semesters) of computer science as a graduation requirement. Getting students to take courses was not an issue. We spent more time trying to make the course interesting, relevant, and even fun while being rigorous.

In hind sight, perhaps I missed an opportunity to have students celebrate what they were doing though.  There are some activates not involving code that we could have done. Maybe you want to try them as well.

Grace Hopper – The timing of CS Ed Week is the week that includes Grace Hopper’s birthday – December 9th. So it is a good time to talk about her and other women in computing. Women have played a huge and often underrecognized role in computing. Maybe younger students would like to make Grace Hopper birthday cards?

CSTA ran a number of contests for student for CS Ed Week some years ago. They make good activities. For example, filming a PSA video to promote computer science in general or specific courses. Posters to promote taking a CS course might be fun. In fact, have students create posters for a specific course that might be over looked. That may help fill courses that students don’t understand from a course description in a program of studies.

Speaking of programs of studies, ask students to write their own description of the course they are or have taken. You may gain insights into how students view the course that help you make the course better.

About that greeting cards, what would a CS Ed Week greeting card look like? Ask students to create some. Let’s make is have a celebratory feel!

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